AUBURN, Ala. — Alt-right spokesman Richard Spencer brought his version of white supremacist thought to the Auburn University campus Tuesday, despite efforts by university officials to shut him down.
Spencer spoke in a rented hall on campus to a crowd of at least 430, a mix of supporters and opponents. Earlier in the week, the university had canceled his speech on public safety grounds, fearing a clash between Spencer’s hard-core followers and anti-fascist activists, many of whom traveled from Atlanta to disrupt the event.
The speech almost did not happen, but a federal judge in Montgomery overruled the university hours before the scheduled appearance, a delighted Spencer told his audience.
“We won a victory that is going to have echoes around the world,” Spencer said to loud applause, largely from the front of the hall where a group almost exclusively of white men sat.
Spencer followed with a mostly rambling speech about white identity and meaning in the face of an increasingly global and diverse America. While outside, hundreds more students and out-of-town protesters waited for him to leave.
Three protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct after clashes with the large contingent of police on campus.
When the event ended, around 9 p.m. central time, hundreds of students surrounded the alt-right activists leaving the hall, eventually chasing them off campus at a full sprint.